Interview by Elise Cooper
Q. Last time we spoke you said this would be a three-book arc, will that happen?
Kyle: No. I’d planned for the next three Mitch Rapp novels to follow the destruction of America’s democracy from within. Power-hungry politicians, a co-opted military, and multiple foreign actors would work in concert to degrade our freedoms until there was nothing left. America would become a democracy in name only. The problem was that the claims of fraud in America’s 2020 presidential election and the subsequent Capitol riot made the book feel a little too close to reality. In the end, I decided to abandon the grand political arc. I rewrote the first ten chapters. For the first time in his life, Mitch is working for a president who doesn’t like or trust him. I hope to wrap everything up in the next book.
Q. Is there is new Mitch in this book which also seems more personal and has humor?
Kyle: I added quite a bit of humor to the series when I started writing. He is calmer, more efficient, and is trying to tone down his actions.
Q. Are the enemies more than just Islamic terrorists?
Kyle: The world has changed since Vince has gone. He would never imagine the divisions within the US. The threat profile is much more complex: China, an unfriendly competitor, Russia, an Internet troll, and the threat from within. I think at the time Vince was writing the fundamental threat was Islamic terrorism. Just like when Tom Clancy was writing the fundamental threat was the Soviets. Mitch sees the polarization in America where certain people root for America to have problems so they can use it against their foes.
Q. There is a very relevant quote about power?
Kyle: You must be referring to this one, “Power is like a drug. In the right dose it saves lives. Too much though, and it becomes deadly.” And the other quote, “We give willingly to precisely the ones who shouldn’t have it.” Washington does not reward loyalty and courage. Those who get the power are the ones that thirst for it the most. The goals of politicians are to create strife and not to solve any problems. We are to blame because we reward these people by voting them into power.
Q. How would you describe President Cook?
Kyle: Smart, charismatic, and ambitious. He uses the cracks in America’s democratic institutions to increase his own and his wife’s power and wealth.
Q. Did you model the President and First Lady on the Clintons?
Kyle: I made them up. I did not think of the Clintons because they are so far removed from the Presidency. The Obamas came to mind. Barak Obama is very smart and charismatic. Michelle had she run for President could have won. They could have been this massive power couple having a sixteen-year reign that would have transformed the way the US political system worked.
Q. Did you base the Ugandan rebel, and murderer, Gideon Auma, on Idi Amin?
Kyle: I could see why you thought that. It is hard to pick between all these psychopaths. I based it on Joseph Kony who has never been captured. He was the head of the LRA in Uganda. He and his forces have abducted and murdered masses of people. They are brutal. Most of the stuff I said in the book was accurate.
Q. Were you afraid that there would be reader’s remorse with the mentioning of a Covid virus?
Kyle: In this book there is no Corona virus. It was just a shout out to the past book, Lethal Agent. Mitch got the virus at the end of it, but it was called Yars, because it came from Yemen. In the Rapp universe Covid does not exist.
Q. Can you give a heads up about the next book?
Kyle: The prologue starts where this book left off. It will be written from Mitch’s point of view about the person who betrayed him. President Cook realizes that Irene and Mitch and Ward know what he did. It will be Mitch and Irene versus the President who has a lot of resources. My goal is to tie things up in the next book with the Cooks. It should be out about this time next year.
Review by Elise Cooper
Vince Flynn’s Enemy at The Gates by Kyle Mills brings back Mitch Rapp, Irene Kennedy, and Scott Coleman. There is no coincidence that the 20th book in the Mitch Rapp series coincides with the 20th anniversary of September 11th.
In this thriller, Rapp and Kennedy are dragged into a world where the lines between governments, multinational corporations, and the hyper-wealthy fade. An environment in which liberty, nationality, and loyalty are meaningless with only the pursuit of power remaining.
The book opens with a meeting between the new President, Anthony Cook, and CIA Director Irene Kennedy, who is very distrustful of him. Meanwhile, Mitch is contemplating his future realizing he is not getting any younger. He feels a strong draw to a quieter life with Claudia and Anna in South Africa, getting out of the CIA, and diving back into the world of competitive triathlons. But life does not go as planned. Irene asks him for his help after discovering evidence of a high-ranking mole scouring the Agency’s database for sensitive information on Nicholas Ward, the world’s first trillionaire. She asks Mitch and Scott to protect him and find the scientist Ward hired to develop a vaccine for all viruses. In the coming decades, Ward’s technologies will help make Saudi oil worthless. And along with Dr. David Chism, Ward hopes to transform health care worldwide. Ward is a menace to the general world order, and to Cook’s financial empire. With the help of the Saudis, President Cook and the First Lady hire the crazed Ugandan warlord Gideon Auma, aka God’s representative on Earth, to neutralize David Chism and stop the research. Cook and his wife will do anything in their power to rid themselves of Kennedy and Rapp who they see as an existential threat.
President Cook is easy to hate and along with his wife, Catherine, they are a formable duo to challenge Mitch and Irene. They are both egotistical, self-centered, cunning, autocratic, and feel no loyalty to America’s institutions. Plus, they are distrustful of the influence Rapp and CIA director Irene Kennedy have in Washington.
This story has counterintelligence, geo-politics, wealthy individuals who want to change or at least influence the world order, and betrayal at the highest level. The last sixty pages are classic Vince Flynn: suspenseful, gripping. captivating, and riveting. This story does have somewhat of a cliff hanger, leaving readers to wonder what will happen next. But that is also classic Vince Flynn a la Separation of Power and Executive Power.
Kyle Mills's Latest
Mitch Rapp has worked for a number of presidents over his career, but Anthony Cook is unlike any he’s encountered before. Cunning and autocratic, he feels no loyalty to America’s institutions and is distrustful of the influence Rapp and CIA director Irene Kennedy have in Washington.
Meanwhile, when Kennedy discovers evidence of a mole scouring the Agency’s database for sensitive information on Nicholas Ward, the world’s first trillionaire, she convinces Rapp to take a job protecting him. In doing so, he finds himself walking an impossible tightrope: Keep the man alive, but also use him as bait to uncover a traitor who has seemingly unlimited access to government secrets.
As the attacks on Ward become increasingly dire, Rapp and Kennedy are dragged into a world where the lines between governments, multinational corporations, and the hyper-wealthy fade. An environment in which liberty, nationality, and loyalty are meaningless. Only the pursuit of power remains.
As “one of the best thriller writers on the planet” (The Real Book Spy), Kyle Mills has created another nail-biter that not only echoes the America of today, but also offers a glimpse into its possible future.
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